Forums > Social Chat > For the Ladies (and Gents): alternate wicks

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BRONZE Member since Dec 2000


the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:I was talking wiht some Renaissance Faire friends who don't necessarily swing fire but they are eaters/breathers and we got into a discussion on wicking, what is best overall, what is good in a pinch, and what we've tried that didn't work at all.Of course Kevlar is popular, and the most common alternative (which I use and it works well) cotton weave belts, such as military belts. Cheesecloth, medical cotton gauze, cotton towels, denim strips from old jeans, rolled up old t-shirts, wool socks and even suede (which doesn't absorb fuel so I was told it sucks) were discussed. Who'd have thought there would be so many "normal" alternatives, and if anyone wants the info on it, we have it all written down here.At any rate, then a fellow fire eater became very red faced and recounted a tale that had me rolling with laughter. He does a trailing/eating show at small faires all over the americas and wanted to find a wicking that was absorbant and could be found anywhere he travelled with extreme ease. Where'd he look? His girlfriends medicine cabinet. He took one of her tampons, thinking that it was neat that a string to tie it to the torch was already attached. He impaled the thing on his torch, tied the string off, dipped it in white glue and went away to practice merrily. Practice for us usually means the middle of the week at the faire grounds while the other performers are watching to critique us. He was so excited about this new wick...which had been labelled in the box as super absorbent
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. He saturated the thing in fuel, marvelled at how little fuel actually shook off from it, cause lets face it, these things aren't made to leak, and lit it up. He said the flame was huge and he basked in the glory as other performers were impressed by the size (sounds very like a man, doesn't it?
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joking guys!!!
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). He proceeded to do the trailing bit of the show, ignoring that his new wick was falling apart in little sooty bits and when he went to swing his torch the string had burnt through and a flaming tampon landed at the feet of the faire co-ordinator, who proceeded to ask my fried if this was his way of telling her to shove it! No one was hurt and after he finished blushing everyone had a hearty laugh. Thanks goodness this wasn't in front of patrons who are far less forgiving than other performers. The poor guy will never live down the jokes from this one I fear...then again I think I am one of the most guilty parties for picking on him!
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After that he went back to whatever it was that he used before as a wick.Moral of the story...I don't think there is one.
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On a side note along these lines I informed my creative friend that while tampons have cotton, most also have the synthetic fabric rayon in them, which does melt the same as polyester or nylon. So if any of you other pyros are looking to try it, make certain you pick up the 100% cotton kind!
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I hope you all find this as amusing as I did.Thanks to his forsight we are trying to find a way to create a small stringed wick for our fire eating show.Best to I am still giggling from the imagery.....------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...[This message has been edited by Pele (edited 15 February 2001).]

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Location: London, UK

Total posts: 382
Posted:hehe that's so funny Pele...i am still laughing when i imagine a burning tampon flying around a Ren Faire!!!
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ta for sharing it,Simos



Location: Melbourne,Vic. Aust.

Total posts: 69
Posted:Pele, nice story, poor guy.i have always used 100% cotton mop head for my fire eating torches. just buy a new mop make sure that its 100% cotton and its probibly a good idea to test it before you use it to make sure it is what it says it is. the best way that i have found to do this is to light a strand (without having dipped it in fuel) and if it is 100% cotton it should catch on fire and then when the fire has died the cotton will Keep smoldering and turn into ash. it is important to feel the burned end after it has cooled down if it is soft then it is most likely 100% cotton if there is a hard bead at the end then there is synthetic in the cord. anyway just pull out the strands adh wrap them around the end of your brand. aftrer you have done this you then need to singe off the little fluffy bits with a lighter or something (only takes a few seconds to do this)again you dont dip it into the fuel to do this. the reason for this is it stops or atleast reduces the risk of little bits of lit wick falling off into your mouth. then you are ready to go.keep an eye on the state of your wick though as if it one of the strands burns right through it might take it upon itself to unravel. hope this helps. Rain.P.S. Pele i am thinking that you probably know most of this but i thought that i might explain it for any others that might also benifit.